Guests: Douglas Brinkley, Shmuley Boteach, Jennifer Giroux, Richard Perle
PAT BUCHANAN, GUEST HOST: The battle for Fallujah. Do we go in with guns blazing and risk a violent backlash from all Arab nations, or take it more slowly and be forced to negotiate with terrorists? One of the architects of the Iraq war is here. I‘ll ask Richard Perle if he thinks he was misled about weapons of mass destruction.
Then, is “The Passion” headed for prime-time? Mel Gibson wants his blockbuster film about the crucifixion to appear on TV unedited. But is it too violent for broadcast television?
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Pat Buchanan. Joe has the night off.
Are Iraqi politicians and clerics in Baghdad tying the hands of the American military? In Fallujah, U.S.-appointed Iraqi minister Adnan Pachachi told American forces to stop attacking Sunni insurgents. Staunch American ally on the Governing Council Ahmad Chalabi said the United States must stay out of the holy city of Najaf while Iranians and Shiite clergy negotiate with the radical sheik al-Sadr, who ignited the violence that left dozens of Americans dead.
Joining us now, MSNBC military analyst Colonel Jack Jacobs, and Walid Phares, MSNBC terrorism expert and professor of Middle East at Florida Atlantic university.
Jack Jacobs, let me start with you tonight.
The “Independent” London newspaper is talking about a conflict between the politicians and the military. The politicians want to negotiate and the military wants to go in and, in effect, do hard justice on these—on the sheik and also in Fallujah. Who‘s right?
RET. COL. JACK JACOBS, NBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I can tell you who‘s going to win. The politicians are going to win. But the military is right.
This is long overdue. And one of the reasons that we‘re in the pickle that we are around places like Fallujah is because we waited so long to decide to do something militarily about all these guys. We should have knocked them off a long time ago, and because we didn‘t, then we have the problem that we have today.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me ask you, isn‘t this fight strategy a formula for defeat?
JACOBS: I believe it is.
I think—you know, I‘ll tell you something really interesting. Before the 82nd Airborne Division left, nobody had been inside Fallujah for two months. And when the Marines showed up, it was the first time anybody had been there since the 82nd left. It gave all these guys an opportunity to rearm and refuel inside Fallujah. And the same thing is taking place or will be taking place in other cities inside Iraq.
I think from a military standpoint, not a political standpoint, but from a military standpoint, it‘s absolutely ridiculous and nobody worth their salt as a military leader would advocate the kind of military strategy that we‘ve been following up until now.
BUCHANAN: All right, Walid Phares, let me quote you a political figure, however, who‘s on that Governing Council what he says, because he‘s very hawkish. He‘s an Iraqi. He‘s a deputy, and he says the U.S. should crush the extremists right now.
Quote—he says, “Listen, do not reward Fallujah. Do not reward Muqtada al-Sadr. Listen to us. We know Iraqi politics better than you do. Do not appease.” Now, he‘s saying in effect what the colonel is saying, that, look, go in and teach these people a lesson when they do something like this or you‘re in real trouble. What are your thoughts on that?
WALID PHARES, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Pat, both directions are very difficult to follow. If we go in basically and defeat the forces inside, there will be other Fallujahs, if there is no real solution.
But if we wait too long, then they, the insurgents, will take over Fallujah and will spread through the Sunni Triangle. So what is the real option? First of all, we need to understand that it is not the entire city which is in uprising. Otherwise, we wouldn‘t have been able to be inside. These are two military radical forces, one which is Sunni linked to the Wahabi and the other jihadists coming from the outside of the country.
And the second are the followers of Saddam Hussein. And they are basically fighting in Fallujah to create a model to spread throughout the Sunni Triangle. So now the question is how to handle that. We have the Iraqi politicians telling us to go in and the Iraqi politicians telling us that they will negotiate and win that without bloodshed.
BUCHANAN: All right, well, look, let‘s take Najaf now. That‘s the holy city in ‘the south. This radical sheik is in there. He seems fairly nervous because he‘s made a lot of concessions already. But he wants to come out without being arrested and certainly without being shot. And he‘s in the holy city. What do you do if they want turn him over in the south, Walid, in your judgment?
Do you think our guys go in and get him? After all, This is a man who is responsible for the deaths of an awful lot of Americans when he ordered that uprising.
PHARES: Well, that‘s true. On the one hand, he is responsible. He is not going to stop. He is—and if he‘s not arrested, I can guarantee you that, with the example of Hezbollah in Lebanon, he is going to spread throughout the area.
But on the other hand, Pat, who would do it, if Americans would do it without the assistance of free Iraqi? And that is my concern. We don‘t have yet a serious Iraqi face to the operation. And the minute we‘ll be able to gather enough Iraqi free forces, and the minute we can get an Iraqi government to order that attack or to order that police operation, I think we‘ll be in a much better position to deal with the al-Sadr situation.
BUCHANAN: All right, Jack Jacobs, let me quote you a Pentagon source who talked to “The Washington Times” today, because apparently this division between the military folks who say, look, go in and finish this job with these people militarily and the others who say, let‘s negotiate, that‘s reached the Pentagon.
Here‘s the Pentagon source talking to the “Washington Times”: “It is kind of hard to imagine what General Sanchez was thinking when he ordered the Marines to cease-fire when they were killing the enemy all because the Iraqi leadership isn‘t able to control the terrorists.” Now, we‘re going to have an Iraqi leadership basically controlling the American military, are we not, on the 30th of June, when we transfer authority to an Iraqi leadership of some kind, and the American military is going to be under them.
How, then, do you fight and win the war if they‘re into a talk-fight, talk-fight strategy?
JACOBS: Well, we can‘t, if it‘s going to be that sort of relationship. But I don‘t think it‘s going to be that sort of relationship, except for the fact that what we see around Fallujah now is that we have a tendency to listen to the guys who—inside the Iraqi Governing Council whose objective is to make sure that there is no violence. That‘s going to work to the great disadvantage of security inside Iraqi.
And if we follow them now or even—or after July 30, all of our troops are going to be in very big trouble. And I think that the military situation is going to get much, much worse. And towards the ends of the year, when the election comes, I think it‘s going to look worse than it does now, which is bad news for the president and not what he‘s after.
I think that the best thing to do now for both the military situation inside Iraq and for the political situation inside the United States is to clean this mess up right now and don‘t wait until later, when it‘s going to get worse. You know, the Russians have a saying that bad news is like a herring in the moonlight. It is—over time, it just gets worse and you can see it better because it shines and it smells. We have to get rid of this now.
And if we wait longer, it‘s going to get worse and more difficult to get rid of once the keys are turned over on the 1st of July.
BUCHANAN: All right, Walid Phares, let me take that up, because there is an inherent interest on the part of many of these politicians. Let‘s take Mr. Chalabi, who is a Shiite. He‘s got good relations with Sistani in the south. And he‘s saying, look, don‘t go crashing into Najaf, because, look, he‘s looking out for his interests. After power is transferred he wants to maintain his ties.
And if the Americans shoot this man, Sadr, and there‘s a bloody battle down there and Shiites are killed, he‘s got a problem. So his interests are not the same as the American interests. And when they take power, the two are going to be in clear conflict, are they not?
PHARES: Yes, absolutely, Pat.
Let me propose this plan, because we have a lot of missing components here. I would suggest strongly to deal with the issue in the Sunni Triangle and in Fallujah first. And then because of a success that we may have in Fallujah, then the Shiite area will follow through. And in Fallujah, the major problem is this. We have to have an American ingredient, a neutral ingredient.
And I agree with Jack that we need to do it fast, even before June the 30th. But we also need to have an Iraqi ingredient. And let me explain that quickly. Certainly we need to isolate Fallujah on the one hand, to have those major axis within the city in the hands of the coalition. No doubt about that.
But stage two should have on the one hand an important media ingredient. We don‘t have the equivalent of Al-Jazeera. We would be winning those military battles on the ground and Al-Jazeera would be—or the other Web sites of the jihadists would be winning the war at the same time.
BUCHANAN: All right.
Let me—Jack Jacobs, it seems to me the Marines—I mean, they killed apparently almost 500, 700, we don‘t know how many, and they wounded about twice that many, which is a fairly bloody battle. But would it not have been better just to go in and get it over with and then deal with the politics afterwards?
JACOBS: Oh, I think so.
And, by the way, I think we‘re a year overdue. We should have done this sort of thing a year ago. You know, there‘s a big difference in the military between seizing and objective and securing an objective. We seized Iraq. But we didn‘t secure anything. We sat back on our heels and we waited for the indigenous people to go sort things out for themselves. And we see exactly what happens when you don‘t continue the attack to make sure that you actually have military control of each of these cities.
BUCHANAN: So we did not defeat them in the cities, and that might have been one of the problems attendant to not having the 4th Division come down from Turkey.
JACOBS: Well, that certainly was. And we certainly had too few troops in order to do it.
Right now the Marines are training their artillery men in the United
States to be infantrymen because the objective is ultimately to bring
Marines back into Iraq and have many more infantrymen than they have now,
because they recognize—the command recognizes that there is not enough -
· there aren‘t enough troops on the ground in order to do the job. Had we gone through the cities initially when we toppled the regime, house by house, taking everybody‘s weapons away, we wouldn‘t have had the problems that we have now.
Now, I can‘t imagine why we would leave weapons in the hands of Iraqis.
BUCHANAN: OK, thank you, Colonel Jack Jacobs and thank you, Walid Phares. Appreciate it.
Coming up, a top Pentagon adviser, Richard Perle, is here to answer tough questions about his prewar predictions that didn‘t quite pan out.
Then “The Passion” tops the box office again, but does it belong on network TV? We‘ll debate that a little later.
Don‘t you go away.
BUCHANAN: I‘m going to ask one of the architects of the Iraq war why the plan was so flawed. Richard Perle joins me next.
BUCHANAN: Many Americans are angry with President Bush and his administration because they feel they were misled by lines like this from my next guest—quote—“With each passing day he comes closer to his dream of a nuclear arsenal. We know he has a clandestine program, spread over many hidden sites, to enrich natural uranium to weapons grade. How close is he to nuclear weapons? We do not know. Two years, three years, tomorrow even?”
That and other statements by Richard Perle, former chairman of the
Pentagon‘s prestigious Defense Review Board and author of “An End to Evil:
How to Win the War on Terror,” now appear to have been false.
Richard, let me ask you, were you misled when you indicated that Saddam Hussein had uranium enrichment facilities operating in his country and he could have a nuclear weapon in one, two or three years?
RICHARD PERLE, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, it now looks as if that information was incorrect, yes.
You had always to face the question, when you have a variety of reports, how much risk are you prepared to take? It‘s easy, in retrospect to say, well, that was wrong, we shouldn‘t have taken it seriously. We didn‘t take seriously other reports that turned out to be right and we paid a very heavy price for that.
BUCHANAN: Well, it certainly is true, if Saddam Hussein—and I was opposed to the war—if he were working on nuclear weapons, had an active program, and your statement were correct, I think the case becomes persuasive that you ought to go to war. Where did you get that information?
PERLE: Well, the information about his nuclear infrastructure was consistently reported by American intelligence. We didn‘t know the exact state of it. But we knew that he had had a program, that scientists had been trained for that purpose.
BUCHANAN: So, at Defense Review Board, you had access to American intelligence?
PERLE: No, this has nothing to do with the Defense Review Board.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me cite you something else here. And it‘s a statement by you, I believe, just a couple of months before that.
You cited Saddam‘s bombmaker, Khidhir Hamza—and that‘s the name of a book of his—in late 2001 as saying this. This is Hamza: “We began to build uranium enrichment facilities, many facilities, and we built 400 of them and they‘re all over the country. Some of them look like farmhouses, some of them look like classrooms, some of them look like warehouses. You will never find them.”
He lied to you, didn‘t he?
PERLE: Well, I don‘t know whether he lied or the report of the activities of which he had personal knowledge was no longer valid at the point at which he said that.
PERLE: I have no reason to believe he lied.
BUCHANAN: But, Richard, uranium enrichment facilities, unlike, say, anthrax, which you can move out of the country, maybe he had it. You‘ve got a uranium-rich facility and you‘ve got materials there that you can pick up afterwards. He says 400 of them. They‘re in classrooms. They‘re in warehouses. They‘re on farms and things like that. Our people went in there. They found zero.
PERLE: I understand.
I believe he was referring not to large installations, but to very small installations, a way of responding to the destruction of their nuclear reactor in 1981, where, as he related it, they built tiny little facilities in order to spread them around.
BUCHANAN: Have you talked to him after we went to war and said, listen, where the devil are these 400 uranium-enrichment facilities? I mean, they would have traces of uranium in them and everything.
PERLE: It appears that that information was incorrect. I‘m not prepared to conclude that he lied simply because he was incorrect. Not all errors are lies.
BUCHANAN: Four hundred facilities, Richard?
PERLE: Well, 400 places in which enrichment was taking place or could take place.
BUCHANAN: Before the war, you said—quote—“I think there would be dancing in the streets if Saddam were removed from power, and the reaction of the Iraqi people would be reflected in the attitude of the Arab world generally.”
We now find America has, by most surveys, the Pew survey and others, has never been more hated there. And, of course, there may have been dancing in the streets that first day. But there certainly is no dancing in the streets that we‘re there now. What happened?
PERLE: Well, there was indeed dancing in the streets at the liberation of Iraq. It was widely regarded as a liberation, except by those people who were in power with Saddam Hussein and clearly were facing a pretty bleak future.
We‘ve been there too long, in my view. We have become an occupying power. We should have transferred authority before now. And in order to facilitate the transfer before now, we should have gone into Iraq with Iraqis at our side. And I regret that we didn‘t do that. That was my strong preference.
BUCHANAN: Mr. Chalabi?
PERLE: Mr. Chalabi and others in the Iraqi National Congress.
BUCHANAN: All right, do you feel we should have gone in and transferred power quickly and then moved our forces out?
PERLE: No, I think there‘s an argument for our remaining there alongside the Iraqis, but not in a position as an occupying power, the situation that will prevail when we do hand over sovereignty.
BUCHANAN: All right, but, right now, we have a serious uprising in Fallujah, obviously, and Ramadi, the Sunni areas, and a much smaller, but intense resistance from Shiites under this al-Sadr. And it‘s got our people very much preoccupied and we‘re going to have to put in two more combat brigades, 6,000 to 10,000 more troops, going to hold over troops coming back to the United States.
Should the United States—we went in to get rid of Saddam and weapons of mass destruction. Should we fight a war in Iraq to build a democracy when it‘s quite clear this is going to be a long, extensive, bloody mess to do it?
PERLE: Well, I don‘t know that it‘s going to be a long, extensive, bloody mess. It‘s certainly not easy. No one ever said it would be easy.
If the question is should we now pack up and go home and leave Iraq in an unstable situation, the answer is no. If you want to see dancing in the streets, you‘ll see terrorists dancing in the streets if we are defeated in Iraq.
BUCHANAN: I think much of what the president said, if we were defeated, the consequences are exactly as he said them.
But I think there‘s a feeling on part of the American people that they were sold a bill of goods, that this was about taking down Saddam, who‘s a monster. And whatever he‘s got, weapons of mass destruction, we can‘t take the risk. And now suddenly we‘ve got mission creep. We‘re going to build democracy . And it looks like a bait and switch. Guys, they got us in there, and now they had another agenda and now they‘re putting through third agenda and there‘s nothing we can about it. Isn‘t there some justification for folks feeling that way?
PERLE: No, look, I think there‘s another way to look at this. And I suggest you look at it in this other way. And that is, we went into Iraq for all the reasons the president indicated and based on the best information that we had at the time.
Having gone into Iraq, having removed Saddam‘s regime, we are now encountering issues that have to be dealt with.
BUCHANAN: All right.
PERLE: This isn‘t bait and switch. There was no false reason put in front and a real reason behind it. We‘re responding to circumstance.
BUCHANAN: All right, if there‘s no bait and switch, who got it wrong? Who indicated that this would be a cakewalk, we would go in, get this done, you know, flowers in the streets—you saw the question the president was asked—and democracy would sprout in the Middle East and the Palestinians and Israeli would get together, all this hooey about all these wonderful things that were going to happen?
And now the Americans say, we‘re in a hellish mess. And I think they might agree with you in saying, we can‘t just walk out. Who made the blunder in Iraq?
PERLE: First of all, I don‘t accept the caricature of the argument that was made before.
There were errors about what we would find when we got there. There‘s no question about that. We did not find the weapons of mass destruction that we had every reason to believe Saddam had hidden. And the evidence for that came from the CIA and other intelligence organizations, not only ours, but those of our allies.
BUCHANAN: But weren‘t we misled about the kind of resistance we would run into? When you take a look at right now, a year later, casualties are escalating. They‘re running at about 160, 180 a month now in Iraq. No one predicted that.
Who made the mistake of thinking this would be a piece of cake?
PERLE: Well, I don‘t know that—I certainly didn‘t say it would be a piece of cake.
BUCHANAN: No, but I mean, who did? The president was
BUCHANAN: No, he was hammered the other night on this, Richard And people asked him, and he said, we‘ve had—it‘s been some tough weeks. Did he anticipate this?
PERLE: Well, you‘ll have to ask him what he anticipated. But I don‘t ever recall the president ever saying it was going to be a piece of cake.
BUCHANAN: Did you anticipate this?
PERLE: Did I anticipate that there would be resistance?
BUCHANAN: Like this?
Did I anticipate that we would have as many terrorists coming into the country and organizing their kind of suicidal resistance? I don‘t think that could have been foreseen.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me ask you, how long do you think we‘ll be in there fighting? How much treasure—I guess it‘s $150 billion for Iraq now. How many lives will it take before we get—quote—“the job done”? I guess that‘s build democracy and turn it over to the Iraqis and enable us at least to bivouac, go back to encampments and then pull out? How long?
PERLE: I can‘t answer that.
BUCHANAN: What would be your estimation?
PERLE: I don‘t know. I think that the handover of authority will significantly improve the situation, not on day one necessarily, but I think we‘ll see a rapid political change.
BUCHANAN: If we were back, say, in December of 2001 or before 2002, would you—I mean, would you have recommended as enthusiastically we go to Iraq as you did at that time?
PERLE: Yes. I believe we were right to go to Iraq. I think we were managing a risk. The risk was very real.
And the fact that we did not find the anthrax that we knew he had created and that he refused to account for doesn‘t change the fact that leaving him in possession of what we believed he had was simply too dangerous. We followed strong leadership.
BUCHANAN: Given the American people‘s—the declining support for Iraq and the fact that Kerry‘s moved ahead, solely, probably because of these two weeks, do you think President Bush is in peril of losing his reelection, at some peril in any event, because of the situation in Iraq, because he went to war in Iraq?
PERLE: I think the president‘s going to win this election, and I think the American people will give their approval to his steadfastness and resilience. If he were to pick up and leave now, then I think he‘d put his presidency at risk. And what does Kerry offer the country?
BUCHANAN: Not a great deal.
PERLE: He did vote with the president after he didn‘t vote with the president.
BUCHANAN: I know he did.
Thank you very much for coming, Richard Perle. We appreciate it. We hope you‘ll come back.
BUCHANAN: All right.
Coming up, Mel Gibson brought “The Passion” to movie screens and now he‘s trying to bring it to prime time. But does the R-rated movie belong to TV? That‘s up for debate next.
Plus, John Kerry is hunting for the perfect Democratic running mate. Who will he pick to join him in a political battle against George W. Bush and Richard Cheney? It‘s a tough one. We‘ll talk about it.
BUCHANAN: Still more controversy surrounding “The Passion of the Christ.” It was a runaway hit at the box office, but is it too violent for television? We‘ll debate that in a minute.
But first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
BUCHANAN: Easter brought another huge weekend for Mel Gibson‘s “The Passion of the Christ.” It is once again the No. 1 movie in America and it has grossed over $350 million, seventh on the all-time list and rising.
But now questions about how it could play on network prime-time TV have come up once again and stirred up the old controversy.
Joining me, Jennifer Giroux of SeeThePassion.com and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of “The Private Adam.”
Rabbi Shmuley, welcome back.
RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, AUTHOR, “THE PRIVATE ADAM”: Hi. How are you, Pat?
How‘s the boycott going?
BOTEACH: Well, if it hits network television, it‘s not going to well at all.
This film has no place in movie theaters. It especially has no place on network TV. It is grossly defamatory of Jews. But it is even more defamatory of Jews. It is a bloody, gory mess. Let‘s recall that, that for the first four centuries of Christianity, Christians never used the crucifixion or the cross as their symbol. They used the palm tree. They used the peacock. They used the dove and especially the fish, because it was only the Emperor Constantine who chose the cross as a military symbol. He didn‘t even call it a cross. He called it a golden spear with a trans-bar.
And later, when Constantine killed his own son, Crispus, in 326, he needed to justify the murder of his son, so he chose the crucifixion as a story of Christianity.
BUCHANAN: Rabbi, before Constantine, maybe one of the reasons they weren‘t displaying the crucifix a lot was because it get them thrown into a lion‘s den for doing it. They were persecuted for 300 years.
But let me ask you this. This has been seen now by tens of millions of people who love this film. Not a single act of vandalism against a synagogue, not a single act of violence against an individual Jewish person, thank the lord. Isn‘t it time for a certain measure of apology from folks who said this would cause pogroms and hatred and all the rest? Were you not dead wrong?
BOTEACH: Well, on the contrary, I personally, of course, never said it would be violent. I said it‘s defamatory. It‘s a lie.
Are you trying to imply, Pat, that the only kind of defamation is where it leads to you being mugged or murdered? On the contrary, if you are being defamed, you have an obligation to clear your name. And we did not kill Jesus, period.
BUCHANAN: All right. Look, and, of course, in the film, Jesus was crucified by the Romans.
BOTEACH: At Jewish instigation.
BUCHANAN: Hold it. Let me talk, Rabbi.
All of the heroes, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary, Simon of Cyrene, even a couple of the high priests, who said, this is a travesty, and even folks at foot of the cross, all of them were Jewish. And the villain, Caiaphas, was Jewish. It‘s a Jewish story.
Now, let me bring Jen Giroux.
Jennifer Giroux, do you think—Jen Giroux, you‘ve seen this, I‘m sure. You‘ve been supporting it all along. And it is a film of real suffering and bloodshed. And it is very gripping. And what is done in the scourging of Christ is a very, very powerful, must be 10 minutes there or even more. Does that belong on prime-time TV?
JENNIFER GIROUX, SEETHEPASSION.COM: Well, you know, this is a completely different type of violence, Pat.
And, first of all, coming right out of the box for an R-rated film, there is no sex, there is no cussing, and there is no taking of the lord‘s name in vain, which I find and many Christians very offensive on network TV and in R-rated movies. So we‘re talking about the violence here.
And I‘ve always said, this is not for young children. But 12, 13 on up, with parents there to discuss it, this is a wonderful teaching tool. People—thousands of people have been converted using this as a meditative tool for prayer. And I have to say, we‘ve got to talk about “Schindler‘s List” here.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me bring that up, Jen.
BUCHANAN: Rabbi, and I want to you respond to this, but maybe Jen can respond first, because she hasn‘t had much time here.
When the Holocaust film “Schindler‘s List” was broadcast on network television, former Congressman Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Christian, devout Christian, created a firestorm with this comment—quote—“I cringe when I realize that there were children all across this nation watching this program. They were exposed to the violence of multiple gunshot head wounds, vile language, full frontal nudity and irresponsible sexual activity.”
Now, maybe I ought to throw this to the rabbi.
Rabbi, did you protest that in prime time?
BOTEACH: Did I allow my children to see “Schindler‘s List?” Of course not.
BUCHANAN: Did you protest it?
BOTEACH: No, because it‘s not a lie. It‘s true that the Germans slaughtered six million Jews.
But the defamation that Jews killed God is a historical lie. It is absolutely contradicted by Cornelius Tacitus, every serious historian. The only people that says he did it are people like Jennifer Giroux, who want all Jews to convert to Christianity. Now, that‘s pure defamation.
BOTEACH: Jennifer Giroux has repeatedly said that Jews should become Christian on national TV.
BOTEACH: I have no place in the world as a Jew.
BUCHANAN: That might means she loves you, Rabbi.
GIROUX: Pat, let me jump in here.
BOTEACH: She should love me the way I am, Pat.
GIROUX: Rabbi, Rabbi, I know you get this. You‘ve told us your scholarly background. I know you get this, OK?
For you to pretend that Christ did not come to bring a new teaching to the Jews and that thousands have died and been martyred trying to teach non-Christians about Jesus, because he said he‘s the way, the truth and the light, it‘s just absolutely disingenuous.
BOTEACH: Jennifer, that‘s ridiculous. You know nothing about what Christ taught, because you‘re not Jewish. You don‘t know the Torah. I know it. I read it in the original Hebrew.
BUCHANAN: Rabbi, let Jennifer talk and then you can talk.
Go ahead, Jennifer.
GIROUX: Settle down, Rabbi.
Let me just say this, OK? You just said you did not protest “Schindler‘s List” because it was not a lie. “The Passion of the Christ” is both historically accurate and biblically sound. It has been said so by all the Jewish scholars...
BOTEACH: All the Jewish scholars? Name one.
GIROUX: Rabbi Laflin (ph). Not all. I‘m sorry. Many. Rabbi Laflin has support for it.
BOTEACH: Oh, you mean the ones who have a Christian constituency, oh, yes, yes, those.
GIROUX: The pope, Billy Graham, James Dobson.
BOTEACH: The pope never said—no, no, no, you are misquoting the pope.
GIROUX: Every network—every network behind the scenes is going to be clamoring to get this audience.
And I think the article that I read said they‘re going to have a hard time getting sponsors, there are many Christian consumers that would love to see the list of those that refuse to put this on, when they are backing smut that is on TV every night that we have to avoid with our children. And there are many, many, many people I believe that will step forward and sponsor this on network or cable TV. And they will probably enjoy sustained support from those people that appreciate them stepping forward.
BUCHANAN: All right, Rabbi, let me ask you a historical and religious question now.
And what Catholics believe is, of course, Christ came and he established the new covenant to succeed the old and the early Christians, the first of them Saint Stephen outside the gates of Jerusalem, was stoned to death. No doubt Christ was crucified by the Romans. But there was great persecution. Saint Paul, who was Saul, helped in the persecutions in those years. And Jewish folks participated in the persecution of Christians. And there‘s a long history between us.
But it seems to me what Jen says is correct in terms of faithfulness to Saint Matthew‘s Gospel and the other Gospels. The Romans crucified Christ, but there is no doubt in there that Caiaphas, the high priest, conspired against him and the crowd behaved as it did in the Gospels in his film. Now, in that sense, is he not truthful to the story?
BOTEACH: Not at all. In fact, everything you just quoted proves my point.
The Book of Acts says that the life of Paul the Apostle, Acts 23, was saved by the rabbis, by the pharisees, by guys like me, like a yarmulke, says the same thing about Peter in Acts, Chapter Five. And it also says in Luke, Chapter 13, Verse 31, that the rabbi saved Jesus‘ life form Herod, who wanted to kill him.
BOTEACH: Hold on one second.
BUCHANAN: All right.
BOTEACH: So, on the contrary, Mel Gibson has absolutely slandered the
Gospels. He‘s completely taken the story of Jesus and he has invented pure
fiction. Jennifer Giroux has consistently left Gospels to defend this
movie. And she has also said that
BUCHANAN: You‘re going to have to give her a chance to respond. It‘s
a matter of
BOTEACH: Jennifer is a big-hearted bigot. She‘s a really nice woman who wants me to become a Christian. Thank you, Jennifer...
BUCHANAN: There‘s nothing wrong with that.
Go ahead, Jennifer.
GIROUX: The Vatican and all the religious leaders that have seen this have said this is true to the Gospel.
BOTEACH: No, the pope never said.
BOTEACH: I have to correct you. The pope has retracted that statement. He never said it, Jennifer.
GIROUX: That is not true. That is absolutely not true.
BUCHANAN: ... what the holy father said.
GIROUX: It is as it was, Rabbi. It is as it really was, and the pope did say it.
BOTEACH: He did not say it. OK. God bless you, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Thank you, Rabbi Shmuley. I hope we‘ll see you again. God bless you, too, sir.
Straight ahead, who will John Kerry pick as a running mate? No one knows, but Rush Limbaugh says if Kerry wants to win, he‘s got the guy for the job. We‘ll tell you who that is coming up next.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge: What was Pat Buchanan‘s first job? Was it, A, congressional aide, B, editorial writer, or, C, high school teacher? The answer coming up.
ANNOUNCER: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked, what was Pat Buchanan‘s first job? The answer is B. At age 23, he was the youngest editorial writer on a major newspaper in the United States, “The Saint Louis Globe-Democrat.”
Now back to Pat.
BUCHANAN: There is talk that Senator John Kerry may move early to name his vice presidential running mate. On the short list, you‘ve got Congressman Richard Gephardt, Missouri, Senator John Edwards, North Carolina, New Mexico Governor bill Richardson. And the media is salivating for Republican Senator John McCain.
But Rush Limbaugh thinks this is the winning ticket here. Here‘s the pitch for Kerry-Buchanan from Rush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Think of the ticket Kerry and Buchanan. Can you imagine this?
What an inspirational moment, John Kerry on the left, Pat Buchanan on the right, a ticket that could unit our country and bring us all together, and Buchanan would get more votes from the Republicans than McCain would. The slogan is, you agreed to hold your nose for Kerry. Now you can hold your nose for Kerry and Buchanan. I love the idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Rush had a bad moment there.
Joining me now, Democratic strategist and MSNBC political analyst Flavia Colgan and presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, the director oft Eisenhower Center and author of “Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War.”
Doug Brinkley, let me start with you.
I don‘t think we can go with Kerry. He‘s not strong enough on the Smoot-Hawley tariff for me.
BUCHANAN: But let me ask you, Doug Brinkley, a serious question. I wrote a column a number of months ago when Kerry first broke out. And I said the ideal candidate for him might be Dick Gephardt of Missouri. You‘ve got, I believe, 12 electoral votes there, if he could bring him. I mean, he brings you some strength because he‘s good on the trade issue from Kerry‘s standpoint in Ohio and West Virginia, which the president carried, red states, three red states.
Who is your—I mean, who do you think Kerry will pick, and secondly, do you think he will move early, as some people are predicting, well before the convention?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think it‘s between two people, Dick Gephardt and John Edwards.
The problem with Edwards is that he doesn‘t give you a state. He doesn‘t really give you North Carolina. That‘s going to be a red state, it looks like. He could drain GOP money in the South, meaning he can force the Republicans to advertise more and really campaign for those states, put in more resources.
But Kerry is not personally close to Edwards. He does have the trial lawyer support. He is youthful. He ran a pretty good campaign. Dick Gephardt, on the other hand, is more of what you call almost a Mississippi River border state candidate. Forget the Deep South. Play on Louisiana. That‘s Catholic and has two Democratic senators. Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, you know, Wisconsin, Minnesota. And in that case, Gephardt is very close to Kerry. They respect each other a lot.
Kerry would play well with the labor base. And also, as a leading congressional Democrat, he‘d help Democrats around the country get behind the Kerry-Gephardt ticket.
BUCHANAN: OK, Flavia, I gather Doug Brinkley is very, very strong on that. I‘m inclined to agree with him on the Edwards thing. I think Kerry will have to poll that very close to the convention if he‘s going to take Edwards to see if Edwards can give him North Carolina. If he can‘t, I don‘t think there‘s a case for him, do you?
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, Pat, think about how happy you would make a lot of confused seniors in Florida? If you were on the ticket, they would get to vote for you again, only this time vote Democrat.
COLGAN: So let‘s not put that away too quickly.
BUCHANAN: OK. Go ahead.
COLGAN: My concern with Gephardt is, we are moving a little bit away from just the strict geography thing. And I think what we‘ve seen in the last year or two, just looking at Howard Dean and Arnold, is that this inside-the-beltway is a bit of a liability for people. And I think having another person on the ticket that speaks Washingtonese might be a problem for Kerry.
And, of course, I‘m talking about Gephardt, who has had a tremendous legacy of service, certainly, but I just don‘t see him being able to cross over to get a lot of those independent votes, even sort of liberal suburban Republicans. And I don‘t know how much excitement he‘s really generating in the base. I would see him as secretary of labor in another position.
On the other hands, if a person like Edwards—and I know people have misgivings in terms of a lack of experiences. But Kerry‘s not a one-term governor from Texas, so I don‘t know that he needs so much to boost him up. And Edwards has this Clintonesque ability to connect with people in this emotional, visceral way that Kerry so desperately needs, this optimistic message of hope.
And we really saw his ability to get a lot of those independent votes, get a lot of those young voters out and a lot of new people into the fold. And we saw that, the more people saw Edwards, the more that they liked him.
I think this would be a great stylistic complement.
BUCHANAN: Yes. And he did very well, I will say, toward the end of his campaign. He was doing an excellent job on the trade issue. He was doing very well in the Carolinas on that. He‘s now a hero back down in North Carolina.
But let me ask you, Doug Brinkley, why are they not talking about Richardson? Now, the Hispanic vote is crucial. Obviously, Karl Rove is very focused in on it. And Richardson is a governor out there. That would help you in New Mexico. He would help you, I guess, in Colorado. He would help you in Nevada. He would help you in Arizona as well. And it would help you generally across the country, wouldn‘t it?
BRINKLEY: Yes. and he‘s going to of course be hosting the Democratic Convention in Boston. Richardson is on that so-called short list. You showed his picture a minute ago.
I think the September-October surprise, meaning, after the Democrats arrive out of July and you get somebody who‘s not tested. They‘re always worried about Bill Richardson. What actually has he done in New Mexico? Is there some sort of Achilles‘ heel that somebody could take a whack at him and he becomes Eagleton, somebody who fails you.
With Gephardt, and to a lesser extent, but I think also with...
BUCHANAN: Well, Gephardt has been vetted.
BRINKLEY: Yes. Yes.
BUCHANAN: But I think Flavia‘s got a very good point. Look, the guy is a colorless guy. He‘s just not an exciting speaker. And it is, they used to say, a mashed potato sandwich. It is sort of blah.
If you pick him, there‘s no excitement. Now, when Clinton picked Gore, frankly, it was a very exciting thing whether you were on the other side or not. But there would be that element of excitement if he did pick Edwards, wouldn‘t it?
BRINKLEY: But after writing about and knowing John Kerry, he would think also about who would be a good president.
And I think his answer to that would be Dick Gephardt. It is a post-9/11 era. And is John Edwards really ready to deal with international security issues, military affairs issue? Is he tested enough? I would argue that Richardson‘s had some experience at the U.N., had some foreign policy experience. So has Gephardt. So has Bob Graham of Florida. Edwards doesn‘t really give you that.
And I think it‘s going to be an important factor, to think, who can you trust post-9/11 homeland security with? And I don‘t think—even Republicans would say Gephardt would fit that bill.
BUCHANAN: All right, Flavia, let me ask you about—of course, Florida is very key. Everybody knows that. And Graham, I think, would have been an ideal pick, but he had a very rough campaign and he had very rough edges to it. What about Graham or Nelson from Florida, the senators, as a V.P. pick?
COLGAN: Well, you know, I look at Graham, and you see Kerry fending off some of this stuff about the cancer. And Graham, of course, has had those health issues with the triple bypass and those thousands of journal entries that I don‘t think we want to go through.
And he suffers a little bit from foot-in-mouth disease. And you don‘t want a vice presidential candidate that you have to kind of clarify what they‘ve said. Bill Nelson is an enormously attractive candidate. He is popular in Florida. He‘s run, of course, statewide a couple times, because insurance commissioner is an elected position. He‘s an astronaut. And you‘ve got an astronaut and a war hero. That‘s an American dream to me.
And he‘s a little more of a cultural conservative. I think that Bill Nelson would be a great choice. If you really wanted to think outside the box completely, you could go with a Rubin. We‘ve been hemorrhaging jobs, except for this last month, at a pace that‘s unprecedented. Here you have the guy who was at the helm of one of the greatest economic expansions.
Or perhaps even go with a moderate woman on the ticket and put a woman on the ticket again, like a Blanche Lincoln or say a Mary Landrieu. I there are a lot of options out there. And no question I agree with Brinkley, though, that Richardson and Gephardt and Edwards are certainly at the top of the list.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me just say quickly, both of you, Doug Brinkley, tell me, if you—pick your No. 1 pick you think he will pick and whether he‘ll do it before the convention. And, Flavia, same thing.
BRINKLEY: I think it will happen at the convention. And I think it will be Dick Gephardt.
BUCHANAN: OK, Flavia?
COLGAN: I think—I hope it will happen before the convention, so we can get a little more energy on the stump. And I certainly hope he picks Edwards. I know there‘s been some rumors that they don‘t like each other. But that didn‘t stop Reagan or Kennedy. And I really think that Edwards brings the stylistic complement that Kerry really needs. He has the gravitas and the credentials. I think he needs a lot of that charisma that Edwards would bring to the ticket.
BUCHANAN: It didn‘t stop Kennedy and Johnson, did it?
COLGAN: Absolutely not.
BUCHANAN: OK, Flavia, Doug Brinkley, thanks very much. Thanks for being here.
BRINKLEY: Thanks, Pat.
BUCHANAN: And we‘ll be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, so don‘t go away.
BUCHANAN: Don‘t forget, you can now watch SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY Sunday through Thursday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. And catch “ULTIMATE EXPLORER FRIDAY” with Lisa Ling at 10:00 p.m. also.
More SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: John Kerry is on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning.
Then watch SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY on its new night, Sundays at 10:00 p.m. Dr. Billy Graham‘s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, joins Joe to talk about her new book, “Why.”
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